Legends in the making: Punahou vs. Farrington

Punahou and quarterback Larry Tuileta started its season with a scrimmage against Farrington. Now the two teams will vie for a spot in the state championship game. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).
Punahou and quarterback Larry Tuileta started its season with a scrimmage against Farrington. Now the two teams will vie for a spot in the state championship game. (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser).

Friday’s second semifinal in the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I state football semifinals pits two of the most storied programs in the state. But for all of the big wins Punahou and Farrington have shared over the years, they are better known for stumbling near the end.

Only Saint Louis (35) has won the ILH more often than Punahou (24), but unlike the Crusaders the Buffanblu have struggled to seal the deal, getting to the state championship four times and winning only once. Kale Ane (108-53-0), who passed Dave Eldredge (103-41-4) as the school’s winningest coach earlier this year, has been the man in charge of the Buffanblu ever since the state championship tournament was established in 1999. Ane is currently tied with Farrington legend Skippa Diaz (108-90) on the state’s all-time coaching wins list.

Punahou also played in only one Oahu Prep Bowl, losing to Waianae in 1977 under Doug Bennett.

The Governors have been equally cursed, never reaching the state final despite participating in six of the past seven state tournaments. Farrington did reach the Oahu Prep Bowl once, in 1990, but got thumped by Saint Louis 38-3 when the Crusaders held Governors running back Randall Okimoto to 33 yards on 15 carries. Okimoto has been Farrington’s coach since 2002.

The Governors’ disappointment in big games is not limited to the state tournament. The school has been in seven OIA Championship games, three of them under Okimoto, and lost all three times.

These two programs have no shortage of heroes with hardware, from Wally Yonamine to Stan Cadiente to Okimoto on the Governors side and Charley Ane, Darryl Gabriel and Manti Teo on the Punahou side.

Quarterback Larry Tuileta, receiver Kanawai Noa, running back Kotoni Sekona and the rest of the Buffanblu already have at least one ILH title but no state championships while every member of the Farrington squad sits ringless.

And now these schoolboys are two steps away from immortality.

Both teams will hit the field with a slew of players who are used to being in the big game, if not winning it. Tuileta holds Punahou’s career state tournament records in games (4), completions (87), yards (1,035), attempts (141) and touchdowns (11).

No Punahou receiver has put up as many yards in the state tournament as Noa, who has 311 including a single-game record of 229. He is third in the program’s history with 17 receptions, behind Miah Ostrowski (25) and Dalton Hilliard (18). Noa has not had fewer than four catches and 92 yards against a Division I foe this season.

Sekona is tied for the team record in receiving touchdowns with two, but he has not been part of the passing game this year with no more than two catches in a game. No Buffanblu running back who has toted the rock at least five times has a better average than backup running back Heisman Hosoda, who put up a 5.3 number on six carries last year. Hilliard (5.1, 26 carries) and Steven Lakalaka (4.8, 29) are right behind him if he slips up in his limited action.

Farrington quarterback Montana Liana has played in his share of big games for the Governors, but he is still waiting for his first championship. Honolulu Star-Advertiser Photo by Krystle Marcellus.
Farrington quarterback Montana Liana has played in his share of big games for the Governors, but he is still waiting for his first championship. Honolulu Star-Advertiser Photo by Krystle Marcellus.

The young Governors don’t have the star power the Buffanblu have, but they do have a quarterback with as much experience. Montana Liana has appeared under center in three state tournament games, more than any quarterback the school has ever trotted out there. Despite mostly being asked to turn around and hand the ball off, Liana holds the school’s state-tournament records in attempts (47) and completions (23). He needs 87 yards against Punahou’s tight defense to match Dayton Kealoha’s school record of 350 yards passing.

Senior Sanele Lavatai’s 105 yards in a first-round win over Baldwin would have him rocketing up the career list for any other school, but not Farrington’s. Lavatai is seventh on the school’s career list in state-tournament games behind Harry Tuimaseve (540 yards), Tyler Taumua (454), Apelu So’oalo (307), Matt Bell (229), Abraham Silva (225) and Siaosi Feleunga (191). He is not going to touch Taumua’s nine career touchdowns, but none of the guys who hit the field will be going for the individual glory.

They want the glory that comes with a piece of a rare state championship. That’s the kind of thing that when it happens, it has a way of living forever.


  1. boydhale November 14, 2013 2:19 pm

    No mention of the defenses? Given that stats on the defense aren’t as available as offense, but there are some really good high school defensive players in this game. I think Farrington probably has just as much star power on the defensive side of the ball, however the team d concept at Punahou is pretty significant to watch.

  2. Dash November 14, 2013 2:55 pm

    Agree with Boyd. It’s hard for defensive players to get any attention. But you’re right about having some good defensive players playing this week. Both games has big names along with Kaiser and Lahainaluna. Just in this game alone you got probably the top 2 defensive linemans in the state Fehoko and Kaumatule. Then you add the rest in.

    Heimuli DL
    Eseroma DL
    Kesi LB
    Paleafei LB
    Leopoldo LB
    McEnroe CB
    Williams S/LB
    Boyd DB/R

    Brady DL
    Saula DL
    Chung LB
    Lakalaka LB
    Tuinei LB
    Moeai LB
    Augafa FS

    Good luck to all the players playing this week.

  3. Jerry Campany November 14, 2013 4:10 pm

    I’m with you on the defense, but there just aren’t any stats to write up a historical perspective except for points allowed per game, which is on the offense as much as the defense. I think we did a lot of that last year because Kahuku’s defense was so historically good.

    That’s why I love doing the Trench Warfare, it brings some attention to the linemen who are usually ignored. I hope to do 2-4 of them tomorrow.

    Any good matchups to watch?

  4. Crusaderforlife November 14, 2013 10:23 pm

    Mililani 35 Campbell 14. Punahou 49 Farrington 10. Saturday, Iolani 21 Kauai 20. Lahainaluna 35 Kaiser 28.

  5. boydhale November 15, 2013 10:07 am

    Interesting to see which side Fehoko lines up on; against Miyashiro-Saipaia or Caputy.

    This is a good Farrington O-line, but not a great one like they have had in the past. Of course when you graduate 5 seniors who started the last two years, you’ve got to expect a little bit of a drop off initially. However running the ball is what Farrington does best, and everyone knows it so seeing what Lavatai (healthy or injured?) and the Bamboolas do against the Saula, Soa, Kaumatule, Tuinei, and Chung will be interesting to watch.

    Will Manly Williams be in the box or over the top to protect against Kanawai Noa running deep?

    I am sure there are many more but these are the ones that just stand out right now.

  6. boydhale November 15, 2013 10:11 am

    “He (Tuileta) can pass Cayman Shutter for the school record in passing yards with 89 on Friday —— he currently has 1,035 to Shutter’s 1,124.”

    I don’t think Shutter passed for 1124 in state tournament games. He only played in 2 games and he did have over 400 yards in each one, but according to the stat page on this site, it did not add up to 1124 yards.

  7. Dash November 15, 2013 11:35 am

    Dream matchup Fehoko vs Kaumatule. Because its ALMOST a given the Fehoko will beat whoever’s in front of him and Kaumatule will do the same. Too bad they can’t go against each other. I like the linebackers (both teams) in this game. They all play bigger than their size, very mobile and attacks well. Farrington seems to have the edge at DBs with Williams, Boyd and McEnroe. Punahou has FS Augafa as their returning starter. Obana has been out almost the entire season. But just like Williams, Augafa also lines up in the box for run support he did it against Kamehameha. So I have a feeling that both Safety’s will be in the box tonight. McEnroe and Boyd will have a huge task of covering one of the best WR in the state. Hopefully the front seven can help them out.

  8. Jerry Campany November 15, 2013 1:44 pm

    thanks, Boyd, I think I added one Saint Louis game for Shutter. Here is what my spreadsheet has:

    comp att yds td int
    Larry Tuileta Punahou 87 141 1035 11 6
    Kale Dyas Punahou 2 2 15 0 0
    Cayman Shutter Punahou 58 96 812 5 4
    Brett Kan Punahou 59 112 698 5 8
    Pono Akina 0 2 0 0 1

  9. Truth November 19, 2013 6:41 pm

    Solid Defense Punahou…One misshap on the corner getting beat Deep but everything else was Solid….

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